Zillow asked homeowners to weigh in on their property values, as I noted last week. A new survey from real estate site HomeGain gets Realtors' opinions about prices.
You can find the national results here. HomeGain provided me with Maryland data, which suggests that opinions about home values are continuing to split down the middle -- sellers on one side, buyers on the other. (Of the 1,150 agents surveyed nationally, 26 were from Maryland.)
Eight in 10 Maryland Realtors polled say their homeowner clients lost value in the last year, but those clients are more optimistic about prices than the agents. Two-thirds of Realtors surveyed say the average client thinks his home is worth more than the recommended listing price. (A sizable number of agents report that the average client believes his home is worth 10 to 20 percent more.)
Two-thirds of agents say their buyer clients, meanwhile, think listing prices are too high. The most popular choice -- chosen by 45 percent of those surveyed -- is "overpriced by less than 10 percent."
That split is after a number of agents have convinced sellers to list at a price that's lower than what the owners thought their homes were worth.
Strip away all the economic issues -- income vs. prices, recession, credit crunch -- and this difference of opinion between would-be buyers and sellers seems a key explanation for why the number of Maryland home sales is still dropping.
The Maryland agents surveyed by HomeGain were themselves split on what will happen to home values in the next six months. Almost four in 10 expect decreases. Just over four in 10 expect no change. And the rest -- 18 percent -- expect increases.
As for President Obama's stimulus efforts, half of the surveyed Realtors think they've had no effect on home prices. Thirty-four percent believe they've stabilized prices, 13 percent believe they've decreased prices and just 3 percent think they've increased prices.
The poll that went live on this blog over the weekend -- still going, vote now! -- is modeled after HomeGain's question about how buyers view listing prices. Once our poll has been up for a week, I'll show how the results compare.
Here, of course, polltakers are a varied bunch -- buyers, sellers and people (renters and homeowners) who aren't going anywhere. So far, nobody thinks asking prices are low. Even the sellers.